The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to celebrate in Austin is by visiting the city’s Annual Trail of Lights. The December event transforms Zilker Park into a winter wonderland as it's lit up by more than 2 million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. 

Image of a large group of people walking under the tunnel of lights.
Courtesy of Trail of Lights. 

Event Info

First opening in 1965 as the Yule Fest, the Trail of Lights has expanded and evolved throughout the years to become the well loved, community-wide celebration that it is today. More than 300,000 people enjoy the event each year, and visitors can take part in this Austin tradition by purchasing a ticket based on your preferred date and time. On certain weekdays entry to the experience is free, so be sure to check the calendar when purchasing tickets. Additionally, any UT fans will want to visit on December 10th for UT Night.

All walk-through admission passes are valid for the designated event date and entry time. The Trail itself is 1.25 miles, but with all of the other fun activities, the average trail-goer will walk about 2.5 miles during their visit, including the walk to/ from the parking areas. Overall time estimate of the experience is 1 hour. 

Keep an eye on the Trail of Lights website for any 2024 event announcements.

Aerial view of Austin Trail of Lights and Austin skyline
Courtesy of Trail of Lights.

What To Do Nearby

If you want to grab a bite before hitting the trail, Barton Springs Road has plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Order a dinner to-go from the Carpenter Hotel, just down the road. If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, you’re in luck – the original Chuy’s (an Austin staple) is also located along Barton Springs Road and is available for pickup. Family can't settle on one place? The Picnic, Barton Spring Road’s largest food truck park, has a variety of options to please everyone.

This fun-filled fest has something for the whole family and truly completes the holiday season in Austin. Check back closer to the event for more details!